Rep. Butch Otter invites all of Congress to valley
By DANA DUGAN
With the tickets for the Dalai Lama's September visit to the Wood River Valley distributed as of July 23, event information now concerns mostly logistical issues, such as parking and add-ons for various events.
The spiritual leader's "Healing Address" on Sunday, Sept. 11, will be broadcast live on CNN. Then, on Monday, Sept. 12, during a special address to the children of Idaho, CNN may air portions of the event, though not live, Ketchum resident Kiril Sokoloff said. Sokoloff is the main organizer and patron of the entire weekend of events surrounding the Tibetan leader's visit.
An essay contest and the chance to nominate a child who embraces compassion have been launched by Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne. Selected young people will then join the Dalai Lama on stage during his Sept. 12 address, "Laying the Foundation of the Future."
On Tuesday, Sept. 13, a Tibetan prayer wheel will be blessed by the Dalai Lama in a private ceremony at the "Garden of Infinite Compassion." This garden is being created by Sensei Martin Mosko, a landscape designer and Buddhist monk, at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden, south of Ketchum. The garden will be opened to the public on Thursday, Sept. 14, at 2 p.m.
A ticketed dinner dance party is being planned for the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 13, at a private home north of Ketchum, with the band Hootie and the Blowfish playing. The South Carolina-based band plays a blend of rock, blues, soul, funk and pop. The band's new album, released Tuesday, is "Looking of Lucky." They are playing "gratis," Sokoloff said.
As additional information becomes available it will be posted at www.hhdlvisitssv.com.
Proceeds from the party will go to several compassion-based concerns in the Wood River Valley. One of the prime concerns is helping teachers with affordable housing.
Sokoloff also is hosting a gathering on Monday, Sept 12, for invited guests from the business world. He said the morning address will be attended by money managers, business leaders and people in finance, with the mission being to spread compassion in business.
"Compassion is good for business," he said. "The intent should be to serve customers from the heart."
Sokoloff said most of the invitees have homes in the Wood River Valley or are staying with residents.
"Right now there are very few from out of town," he said. He added that Rep. Butch Otter, R-Idaho, has invited the entire U.S. Congress. Some members are expected to accept.
Key people involved in the organization of this massive event are Rod Rinker, Pirie Grossman, Tendzen Dhonden and Reneé Kline, Sokoloff said.
He added that Rinpoche Tendzin Choegyal, the Dalai Lama's youngest brother, who was in town in May for the Sun Valley Mountain Wellness Festival, is returning to the valley, and will be here through his brother's visit.
Kline, the director of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama Visits Sun Valley Organizing Committee, is responsible for managing, coordinating and planning all aspects of the Dalai Lama's visit. She is working on final logistical aspects of the event.
"The parking situation has been altered slightly due to a donation of 20 acres of land," she said. "We're trying to better capture vehicles so they won't be parking in neighborhoods. If we capture (the drivers and passengers) north and south of Hailey, they can enjoy the bus ride right to the venue doorstep. That is our goal."
Information on the new south-valley parking site will be released after the Hailey City Council's town hall meeting on Thursday, Aug. 11.
Sun Valley resident Grossman calls herself a very excited volunteer but it's clear her involvement and aid has been vital.
"This is her passion," Sokoloff said about her work on the children's event and activities.
Tibetan monk and spiritual advisor Tendzen Dhonden has been instrumental in the building of the prayer wheel and making sure it arrives on time in the valley.
"He's been very involved. It's a very personal creation," Sokoloff said of his friend.